Risk of Comorbidities for COPD Patients

Photo: Scheme of lung

COPD diagnosis can remain
unsuspected in people with heart
disease;© panthermedia.net/
Vishukumar Sivaraman

The issue of co-morbidities, when an individual is affected by more than one condition at the same time, is a growing problem for medical professionals. As people are living longer, the presence of co-morbid conditions will increase. Patients are often treated by a specialist for one particular symptom but as the prevalence of co-morbidities increases it will become important for all clinicians to recognise other symptoms.

It is common for patients to have both heart disease and COPD but it is largely unrecognised by doctors because of overlapping clinical manifestations. COPD diagnosis can remain unsuspected in people with heart disease, but having both conditions can lead to a much worse outlook for the individual.

Previously there was very little epidemiological evidence linking the two conditions, but this study is the first to identify that nasal symptoms and cardiovascular disease are common in people with COPD and could link the two conditions.

The researchers collected data on nasal symptoms and cardiovascular disease from 993 patients with COPD and 993 without COPD. In the latter group, the patients were divided into two categories; those with normal lung function and those with restricted lung function. 50.1 per cent of people with COPD had cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke and hypertension, compared to people with normal lung function (41 per cent).

The results showed that nasal symptoms were common in people who had both COPD and heart disease compared to people with normal lung function: 53 per cent of people with COPD and heart disease had nasal symptoms compared to 35.8 per cent in people with normal lung function and heart disease.

In addition, 62.2 per cent of people with both restricted lung function and heart disease had nasal symptoms, demonstrating that the symptoms could be used as a marker for identifying increased risk of heart disease and COPD in people yet to be diagnosed with either condition.

MEDICA.de; Source: European Lung Foundation